Over the years there have been recurring accusations of diversion of relief materials against NEMA staff – which NEMA always deny.
Though scores of them have been arrested in the course of diverting relief materials, the agency still believes the accusations are unfounded.
The employees of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) on Thursday, October 19, 2017, embarked on a nationwide indefinite strike. The staff attributed the strike to the poor welfare of staff under the leadership of NEMA Director-General, Mallam Mustapha Maihaja.
These accusations against NEMA employees and the one against the management shows there might be a reason behind the diversion of relief materials we are not exposed to.
Corruption exists even in high places where people enjoy the perks of public office yet they ‘steal’.
However, for an agency working to provide succor to Nigerians in time of pains and disaster yet complaining of poor welfare, it shows their working conditions is not up to standard and such experience of poor welfare has exposed government’s intention of providing succor to Nigerians through them to threat as what they lack existed in abundance around them.
These, among other reasons, has made the relief items to be vulnerable to diversion in the hands of NEMA staff.
Their case can be likened to that of a woman being paid to feed ten children daily but, her salaries are being owed, this automatically put the children feeding in danger as a hungry woman won’t feed hungry children without feeding herself first.
This strike by NEMA should serve as an opportunity for the federal government to reposition the agency for effective service delivery to fulfil its purpose of establishment.
The staff must be well taken care of before they are sent to the field to take care of victims of disasters. Also, the government needs to look into the practice where NEMA staff spend personal funds for intervention that should be solely bankrolled by the federal government.
All these practices have exposed the agency to corruption and other acts of impunity which should be stopped.